Actions speak louder in silent protest against care home closure

BATTLING villagers in the Neath Valley are hoping silence is golden in their fight to save a care home for the elderly from closing. They staged a silent demonstration outside Trem-y-Glyn in Glynneath as social services chief Tony Clements arrived to explain to home residents and their families why Neath Port Talbot Council wanted to shut it.

The authority is out to consultation on its proposals to close seven homes and bring in a partner to build and run three large replacement homes at centralised locations.

But there has been widespread opposition, especially in Glynneath where the Trem-y-Glyn Action Group organised the silent demonstration.

Group member Karen Jones said: “There was excellent support from the community, with children, families and some residents of Trem-y-Glyn present.

“I’d guess that there were at least 150 people, if not more, showing their support for the public awareness event.

“Everyone stood in dignified silence as the director of social services and his colleagues arrived and went into the meeting.

“We hope this silent demonstration has emphasised how Trem-y-Glyn is an integral part of this community, and how important it is that we have a home here in Glynneath so that it remains part of the community.

“As an action group, we will continue to fight on behalf of the residents, families, carers and wider community to ensure our older people remain in the community that they have always been a part of.”

Neath Port Talbot Council agreed to embark on a three-month consultation exercise in January. It ends tomorrow.

It says seven of its eight elderly residential care homes are not up to scratch, with small rooms and shared bathrooms which do not meet modern standards.

Between them, the homes need £4 million worth of maintenance work — but even then, the authority says, this would not address their failings.

Mr Clements said the meeting at Trem-y-Glyn had been very encouraging, and everyone was receptive to what the council had to say.

“From day one of the consultation, we made it clear that no decisions had been made, and that nothing was set in stone,” he said.

“We have conducted the process in an open and transparent way to give residents, staff and members of the community every opportunity to put forward their views.

“Once the consultation has ended, it might appear for a while that nothing is happening.

“However, over the next few weeks we will be working behind the scenes to explore all the feedback in detail and give it thorough consideration before preparing a report for cabinet in the summer.

“I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the consultation for their feedback and for the way in which they have engaged with us over the past three months.”